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Eat Ice Cream and Support Activism

 

It doesn’t take much explaining to make it clear to almost anyone that Ben and Jerry’s is a company worth supporting. Aside from being your favorite guilty pleasure dessert, there are plenty of other reasons to love Ben and Jerry’s. 

 

Since the very early days of the company, late ‘70s Vermont, creators Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have maintained the virtue of giving back to the community. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream became a well known and high profiting company by the late 1980s, with the business worth almost $30 million. This is a huge success for the company and a clear graduation from their small town Vermont roots. At this point, it would have been easy for Ben and Jerry to prioritize their income over their values, but you will shortly understand that a change of heart is never on their agenda. In 1988, Ben and Jerry’s started a non-profit organization called “1% for Peace”, aiming to redirect 1% of the national defense budget to fund peaceful projects and activities. 

 

Another notable contribution to the greater good comes again in 2005, when Ben and Jerry’s constructed a 900-pound Baked Alaska dessert in front of the US capitol building on Earth Day. This was a protest to the proposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to the effort and hours spent building the massive 4ft tall dessert, Ben and Jerry’s had hundreds of employees present at the protest fighting for the environment. 

 

More recently, Ben and Jerry’s has openly advocated for the Black Lives Matter movement and brought attention to acts of police brutality, specifically the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In addition to making public statements on the injustice of their deaths, Ben and Jerry’s has also called for action from the president, as well as congress. Their official statements on the Black Lives Matter movement, their reaction to actions of the president and congress, and their vow to contribute to the destruction of white supremacy can be found on their website with the title “We Must Dismantle White Supremacy: Silence is NOT an Option.” 

While these are considerably more radical notions that Ben and Jerry’s has taken on the front of activism, there are dozens of subtle contributions that have been made by the company. In 1989, Ben and Jerry’s officially came out against the use of Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) in an effort to promote the ethical treatment of their cows. In 2013, Ben and Jerry’s committed to producing all of their products without GMOs. In the same year, the company also committed to consumer transparency by means of accurately and fully labeling ingredients in their ice creams for consumers to read easily. In addition to switching their ingredients to non-GMO, Ben and Jerry’s offers an array of non-dairy and gluten-free options, making it available to anyone with a vegan diet, as well. These may seem like small or easy changes, but over time they can make a huge difference. 

 

These are just a few of the important contributions that Ben and Jerry’s has made to the world and to the United States. Ben and Jerry’s has protested on the fronts of environmental harm, racial injustice, war efforts, and several others in its 42 years of business. Ben and Jerry’s has been making the world a better place since its creation in 1978 and definitely isn’t stopping any time soon. All information regarding other efforts that Ben and Jerry’s has supported can be found on their website under “Values."

 

With all of this knowledge on the virtues and activism of Ben and Jerry’s, it’s difficult not to support them. And who doesn’t love ice cream? 

Junior at NCSU majoring in Communication Media Lover of strawberry ice cream and classic rock VP of Her Campus NCSU
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